時間 2020/02/22 09:00 ~ 2020/05/31 17:00
Abstract expressions and contemporary concepts presented in exhibitions are perhaps sometimes difficult for people to grasp fully; however, when they see images of familiar plants or fruits, it is more likely for them to engage in enthusiastic discussions. Betel nut, sugarcane, banana, and palm tree are closely connected to this island’s daily landscape, culinary culture, and industrial system; to the dwellers of this item, these are familiar plants and not strange and exotic botanical specimens. What the artworks on view in this exhibition seek to highlight is a way to rediscover the direct connections between modern and contemporary Taiwanese art and everyday experiences in Taiwan. Furthermore, an attempt is also made to understand the role of Taiwanese artists within this context.
During the Japanese colonial period in Taiwan, poet Mitsuru Nishikawa often referred to Taiwan as Karei-Tō, or beautiful island. After the war, the Nationalist government that retreated to Taiwan often called the island, Baodao, or treasure island. The term, Formosa, which also means beautiful island, was used as an inviting and appealing name by those in the Tangwai Movement when Taiwan was still under martial law (tangwai literally means “outside of the party”). All of these names share one thing in common, which is that Taiwan is a beautiful island full of treasures. Colonizers, rulers, or common everyday people have projected their imagination of the island through the various perspectives that they hold. In addition to the yam-shaped island that we see on maps, the most direct imageries that embody all of these imaginations of Taiwan are the tropical plants that are seen throughout the island. Betel nut is one of the rare crops that has been passed down from Taiwan’s Austronesian culture to its Han Chinese migrant society. It has also been discriminated at various levels throughout the process of modernization. Sugarcane and banana were also prevalently planted in the colonial period to boost economic development, and the industry link formed based on these crops had come to shape the industrial landscape of Taiwan. Palm trees were introduced by the colonial regime for the exotic viewing pleasures that the plant provides, which had, subsequently, become a central element of Taiwan’s urban landscape.
The objective of this exhibition is to examine the aforementioned four plants through artworks by artists from various periods in time. The photographs taken by Scottish explorer John Thomson when he travelled to Taiwan for the first time at the end of the 19th century show the island of Taiwan in a very natural state. With subsequent colonization and modernization, sugar plants, banana and betel nut groves became common scenes in Taiwan’s rural areas, and palms and migrant society formed the common urban landscape seen in Taiwanese cities. Betelnut, banana, palm were once ubiquitous in Taiwan, and sugarcane was the only agricultural product that was processed and sold by the government after the war; therefore, sugarcane fields and sugar refineries played a memorable part in many Taiwanese people’s childhood. Because of these reasons, these things are deeply imprinted in Taiwanese people’s lives. When we try to describe them, we are not just describing natural landscapes; they are a part of Taiwanese people’s memories, experiences in life, and also historical consciousness.
Su-Chen HSU+ Chien-Ming LU
*The names are arranged in stroke order
Born in Taiwan in 1981, Tong-Chiao Chuang graduated from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Art de Paris-Cergy (France) in 2011, after having received a DNSEP (Diplôme national supérieur d’expression artistique) from the same institute.
Thereafter he started working as a curator in Taiwanese museums, first in the curatorial department of Juming Museum (New Taipei City, 2012-2016) and then as curating assistant and acting director of curatorial department at the recently opened Tainan Arts Museum (since 2017).
Besides, Chuang’s artworks have been exhibited in art centers and galleries multiple times since 2005, mostly in France in Taiwan and occasionally in South Korea. One of his pieces, “Occupation Corporelle”, was part of the off program of the 2012 Avignon festival.
獨立策展人、策展團體「奧賽德工廠」廠長；近年重要策畫展覽包括2011年「後態度：台灣年輕當代藝術家聯展」（墨西哥城Ex Teresa Arte Actual）、2012年「南國．國南：台越藝術家交流計畫」（胡志明市Zero Station、台南齁空間）、2013年「Sommerreise」（柏林GlogauAIR）、2014年「拾荒花園」（臺北誠品畫廊）、2014年臺灣國際錄影藝術展「鬼魂的迴返」（臺北鳳甲美術館）、2015年「我不屬於」（臺北恆畫廊）、「野生傳說」（金山朱銘美術館）、2016年「迷宮中的青鳥：從日本近代美術至亞洲當代藝術」（臺北日動畫廊）、2017年「菸葉、地毯、便當、紡織機、穴居人：當代藝術中的工藝及技術敘事」（臺北鳳甲美術館）、2018年「Is/In Land：台蒙當代藝術游牧計畫」（烏蘭巴托976 Art Space及臺北關渡美術館）及2019年「留洋四鏢客」（臺北TKG+）等。
Independent curator; Director of “Outsiders Factory”, a curators collective; selected important exhibition curatorial works include “Post-Actitud” (2011, Ex Teresa Arte Actual, Mexico DF), “South country, South of Country” (2012, Zero Station, Ho Chi Minh City & Howl Space, Tainan), “The Lost Garden” (2014, Eslite Gallery, Taipei), Taiwan International Video Art Exhibition 2014 “The Return of Ghosts” (Hong Gah Museum, Taipei), “I Don’t Belong” (2015, Galleria H., Taipei), “Wild Legend” (2015, Jumin Museum, Jinshan) , “Blue Bird in the Labyrinth: A Walk from Japanese Modern Art to Asia Contemporary Art Scene” (2016, Galerie Nichido Taipei), “Tabaco, Carpet, Lunch Box, Textile Machinery and Cave Men: the narratives of craftsmanship and technologies in contemporary art” (2017, Hong Gah Museum, Taipei), “Is/In-Land: Mongolian Taiwanese Contemporary Art Exchange Project” (2018, 976 Art Gallery, Ulaanbaatar, Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei), “The Middleman, the Backpacker, the Alien Species and the Time Traveler” (2019, TKG+, Taipei).